As part of NHL.com's 31 in 31 series, the fantasy hockey staff identifies relevant players from the San Jose Sharks. For more fantasy coverage, visit NHL.com/Fantasy and subscribe for free to the NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast.
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Erik Karlsson, D (NHL.com rank: 12) -- The top defenseman in NHL.com's rankings, Karlsson had 45 points (three goals, 42 assists) in 53 regular-season games last season and 16 points (two goals, 14 assists) in 19 Stanley Cup Playoff games. Karlsson, who leads active NHL defensemen with 0.83 points per game, missed time because of injury in the regular season but still managed 20 power-play points despite splitting time on the first unit with Brent Burns. If Karlsson, who signed an eight-year contract to remain with the Sharks on June 17, can stay healthy, he and Burns are the only two defensemen capable of reaching 80 points.
Video: 31 in 31: San Jose Sharks 2019-20 season preview
Brent Burns, D (13) -- Right behind Karlsson in the defenseman and overall rankings is Burns, who led the position with an NHL career-high 83 points (16 goals, 67 assists) last season. Burns has had at least 60 points in each of the past five seasons since moving to defenseman and at least 25 power-play points and 300 shots on goal in each of the past four. He's also durable, having not missed a game since the 2013-14 season. Even at 34 years old, Burns is arguably the best fantasy defenseman and comes with fewer concerns than Karlsson.
Video: Brent Burns claims the top spot on the list
Tomas Hertl, C/LW (72) -- Hertl is coming off a breakout season with NHL career-highs in goals (35), assists (39) and points (74) in 77 games last season. He also leads returning Sharks forwards in ice time (19:01 per game) and power-play goals (11). Hertl, who centered a line with left wing Evander Kane in the playoffs, should exceed 70 points again and has a chance to play with right wing Kevin Labanc (56 points, 20 PPP last season) at even strength and on PP1.
Video: SJS@VGK, Gm6: Hertl rips SHG in 2OT to force Game 7
Timo Meier, LW/RW (73) -- He had NHL career highs in goals (30) and points (66) last season and ranked second on the Sharks in even-strength points (55) behind Hertl (57). Meier could expand on his power-play production (10 PPP) if he plays on the first unit with Couture, Hertl, Labanc and either Burns or Karlsson after the departure of Joe Pavelski (signed with Dallas Stars). Meier has a high shot volume (250 SOG) and covers hits (99; 1.3 per game), making him worth targeting inside the top 75 overall and even higher in keeper leagues.
Video: STL@SJS, Gm1: Meier dekes to backhand for great goal
Logan Couture, C (77) -- He quietly had an NHL career-high 70 points (27 goals, 43 assists) last season and was a point-per-game player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (20 in 20 games). He scored 27 goals, the eighth time in nine full NHL seasons he's had at least 20. His power-play goal (six) and PPP (18) totals took a hit from 2017-18 (10 PPG, 21 PPP), but Couture is in line for increased ice time (18:36 per game last season) after the departure of Pavelski. Couture lost left wing eligibility in Yahoo but could expand on his totals with Karlsson healthy and playing on PP1 for a full season.
Video: Logan Couture comes in at No. 17 on the list
Martin Jones, G (95) -- Although Jones was tied for the third most wins (36) in the NHL last season, his .896 save percentage was the worst of his six-year career and ranked 45th out of 48 goalies who played at least 30 games. His 2.94 goals-against average was also the worst of his career. Jones is a lock for 30-35 wins given his heavy workload and could have numbers closer to his career averages (2.47 GAA, .912 SV%), especially after bouncing back in the first two rounds of the 2019 playoffs (8-5, .910).
Video: SJS@STL, Gm3: Jones denies Perron's great scoring bid
Evander Kane, LW (120) -- He tied his NHL career high in goals (30 last season) and had 56 points in 75 games, one behind his best total (57 with Winnipeg Jets in 2011-12). Kane also had the highest totals of his career in PPP (11) and penalty minutes (153) to go along with strong coverage of SOG (268) and hits (173). Even after a quiet postseason (eight points in 20 games), Kane remains one of the best category coverage players in fantasy.
Video: COL@SJS, Gm2: Kane slips in rebound to open scoring
Other players with fantasy upside in late rounds or off waiver wire: Kevin Labanc, LW/RW (199); Joe Thornton, C; Dylan Gambrell, C; Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D; Alexander True, C
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